The best indication that Bears perennial Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers is confident in his defensive linemates is this: he’s willing to stand on the sidelines more while the defense is on the field.
“Yeah, I feel fresher. Coming out of the game more than I have in the past here. Like I said, we have guys developing, so I feel more comfortable coming out of the game,” Peppers said.
Given his age, Peppers will benefit from more snaps off. But, after a spotty offseason, the Bears pass rush has been steady and solid through two games.
“It’s been consistent because guys have improved, in addition to us having a better and deeper rotation.
We also have guys that are interchangeable that can play different positions along the line and it creates mismatches and creates a bit of confusion up front for offensive lines,” Peppers said. “A lot of guys have improved over the offseason. Guys got in better shape. Everybody is rushing a little bit better and the results are showing in the stat sheet, finally.”
Peppers has swung inside, and the defensive ends have been flipping sides.
“It just gives those guys a different look and get into a rhythm. You give them a different look with four or five guys and it throws them off balance,” he said.
Henry Melton leads the team with three sacks. But Peppers is close behind with two, followed by rookie Shea McClellin and Corey Wootton with 1 1/2 sacks apiece.
“I’ve always been willing to share any knowledge I have because, at some point, I’m not going to be around, and it’ll be up to those guys to perform,” Peppers said. So whatever I can give while I’m here and teach them and allow them to learn from me, I’m happy to do it.”
Finally, Peppers insisted he doesn’t pay attention to who is lining up for the St. Louis Rams, an already suspect unit has been dogged by injuries.
“We say this every week. It’s about us. It’s not about who’s name is on the jersey or who it is. It’s about us and what we do,” he said.